By Dr Deepak Pandey
We produce enough food to feed every one in the world.Ironically about 821 million people are currently “under nourished” as per World Food Programs(WFP).
On one hand, we are planning to set up colonies at Mars and Moon, and on the other hand we are not able to fulfill the basic need of food for 821 million people.
Our development is only justified when world community takes up this challenge for feeding each human being on this planet.
Many experts delibrate on this issue and prescribe various methods.
However, I have identified 8 steps to end this curse of hunger and achieve “zero hunger”.
1- Empower the poor–
It is seen that those who are hungry are more marginalized in society.
In fact,they are hungry for sociao political rights as well food. Proper social and political rights are needed to empower them.
2- Make right to food as basic human right–
We pay lots of money and time on the issue of protection of Human Rights.We have achieved considerable success in this field.
A human being survives on food.If he is not getting it,all other efforts for protection of Human Rights become useless.We must remember that human rights are for living beings.
3- Economic development of hungry poor-
Poverty is the biggest curse on humanity.It hinders access to food and Health care.
Economic development will increase the purchasing power and access to quality food.
4- Reduction in food wastage
It is estimated that one third of total food produced is wasted.It is a huge loss.
Most of this wastage occur due to lack of transportation facilities from farm to market,lack of storage facility, and lack of quality control of agriculture and horticulture products.
Localisation of production and consumption of food will improve access to food, improve the quality and quantity, reduce the cost of purchase of food and boost the local economy.
Present, trends of globalisation of food market is also responsible for global hunger.
When market dictates the food production, the producers concentrate on crops which fetch higher price and are exotic.
The farmers start producing “luxury crops” only. Gradually, the farmers abandon production for local market.He also abandon local crops.
Production of coffee,cocoa,tea etc are excellent example of this peculiar phenomenon in which the producer community import basic food items and uses their best farms to produce “luxury crops” for export.
6- Produce variety of foods
It is estimated that only four crops provide 60% of calories consumed worldwide.These crops are- wheat, maize (corn) ,soy and rice.
Local crops provide appropriate nutrition needed to survive in a particular climatic and geographical condition.
Over dependence on these four dominant crops and non consumption of local cereals are major causes of malnutrition and under nourishment.
Production of these four dominant crops also cause soil degradation,excessive use of fertilisers and pesticides.
Local crops have adapted to locate climate and require less fertilisers and water.These crops have developed defence for adverse climate, pathogens and insects.
7- Feed the child
WFP says that good health and nutrition in a child’s first 1,000 days is essential to prevent stunting and promote healthy development.
A healthy child develops as a healthy adult. A healthy and physically fit farmer produces more food.
Expenditure on medical care, if reduced, can be diverted to production and consumption of quality food.
8- Encourage preservation and processing of food
Food preserved is food produced.
The modern technology for food storage and processing must be applied globally.
Local traditional methods for food preservation and processing must be encouraged as these have been developed by local communities over thousands of years.
These are less energy consuming, reduce wastage during processing,less polluting and adapted to local climatic conditions.